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Government To Release Hundreds of Documents On NSA Spying 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-today's-spying-news dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "In response to a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Department of Justice is preparing to release a trove of documents related to the government's secret interpretation of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. The declassified documents will include previously secret opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The decision by the Justice Department to release the documents is the second legal victory in recent weeks for the EFF related to the National Security Agency's intelligence collection programs. In August, the group won the release of a 2011 FISC opinion that revealed that the court ruled that some of the NSA's collection programs were illegal and unconstitutional. The newest decision will result in the release of hundreds of pages of documents related to the way the government has been interpreting Section 215, which is the measure upon which some of the NSA's surveillance programs are based. In a status report released Wednesday regarding the EFF's suit against the Department of Justice, attorneys for the government said that they will release the documents by Sept. 10."
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Government To Release Hundreds of Documents On NSA Spying

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @07:05PM (#44770603)

    That is a lot of [REDACTED]s.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      to the extent that the remaining text is pointless. That's the point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can probably release faster if their printers not constantly out of toners printing all black pages.

    • What part of 'Foreign' does the NSA and their lawyers not understand? It must be a publiek skooling thing, no child left behind and all that...
    • by s.petry (762400)
      I am picturing sheets of black tape covered pages with enlightening words like "The" and "And" clearly visible.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So they won't hold back on the dodgy stuff. I trust them!

  • Drown 'em in paperwork. That'll keep 'em busy for a few years. In the meantime business is just humming right along.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @07:15PM (#44770661)

    Somewhere in Moscow, a lone man can be heard saying, "What?!? All I had to do was ask? Damnit!"

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Somewhere in Moscow GRU, FSB, SVR, siloviki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silovik) are wondering is this just all a generational political fight between CIA and NSA contractors for political power?
      Play the optics until the trap becomes clear.
      Their endless hunt for cleared US staff goes on. All the online resumes with code words and colour pictures are found and sorted. Short on cash, a hidden past, just needing a new friend...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        That would explain the magically convenient discovery of general Petraeus' infidelity by an FBI agent's warrantless access to an e-mail account on a whim. They get Petraeus fired, the CIA in turn exposes the NSA and the FBI's involvement in setting up the NSA's taps on the U.S. and the rest of the world. I know you wanted to say it, but didn't. And I don't give a fuck if Snowden is the next Emmanuel Goldstein, I'll suck his cock. And I'm totally hetero.

        -- Ethanol-fueled

        • by dbIII (701233)
          No that thing was obvious. A turf war escalated and the FBI showed they had more muscle. There's no point trying to tie other things into the chaos of what are effectively rogue agencies, they may as well be medieval Italian city states or mafia families. Trying to starve them of funds just ends up with stuff like North selling weapons to terrorists that had killed over a hundred US marines less than a year before the deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They cannot be trusted. They'll only feed us what they want us to see and nothing more. They'll deny that they do much more, and even will tell us they've curtailed some efforts.

    They are the government. They lie. They cannot be trusted.

  • Just redacted enough to make them useless.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Just redacted enough to make them useless.

      Then redact the NSA!

      • by geekoid (135745)

        The amount of illegal searches done by the NSA is well, well under 1%.
        Keep that in mind when you are looking at a list that only contains the wrong doing.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Does it really matter how much is (according to them) legal? You won't escape a murder charge because you almost never kill people, why should the secret police be allowed to run free because (they say) they almost never abuse their power?

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          The amount of illegal searches done by the NSA is well, well under 1%.
          Keep that in mind when you are looking at a list that only contains the wrong doing.

          Damnit! you mean if I keep my illegal activities under 1% I'm not going to get in trouble@?! FUCK I never heard of this before.... Is that how all those Lawers and bankers get away with fraud and extortion? How do you know what 1% of a persons money is? is this an honor system? because it's sounding like it and that is great news....

          Now I can kill my wife if I only get 99 more.... hummm that's a lot of lip.... but i'll be able to beat one of them every so many days... nah.... keep the wife and i'll just rap

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'll wait for the same, but unredacted docs that Snowden releases.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:05PM (#44770911) Homepage

    Today the government, under the Freedom of Information Act, released further evidence to its illegal spying on American citizens. However, it still adamantly refuses to actually stop the agencies from continuing in these actions. "I don't think it's our place", a Senator - insisting on anonymity - said.

    "Yeah", one NSA agent was overheard saying. "It's no big thing that this information is out there. It's not as if we care what the people think anymore."

    In response, the FBI announced it intends to one-up the NSA by revealing they shot Kennedy. "The NSA are just a bunch of Johnny-come-lately amateurs when it comes to screwing over the citizens of America. We've been doing illegal wiretaps for decades. And don't get me started on the fun stuff we did back under Hoover's administration; it's about time we got recognition for all that work!"

    Asked if he worried that these relevations might have unexpected consequences, he said "Nah; it's obvious that the average citizen is so apathetic that we might as well flaunt our villainy. Anyway, what can they do? We have the power, the guns, the money. Let them whine on YouTube; we'll get to them soon enough."

    A nearby CIA agent refused any comment as he drove off in what appeared to be an Area-51 flying saucer.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:06PM (#44770921) Homepage Journal
    They already intentionally lied to the congress [slate.com] and suffered no consequences even after that was found out. What are the odds of what they show is the real full documents or just a redacted, partial, totally false or even a bunch of pages filled with loren ipsum? They already proved that deserve no trust and that don't care at all about it.
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:08PM (#44770925)

    In REDACTED the US Department of Homeland Security REDACTED REDACTED and, under the direction of REDACTED, REDACTED of the National Security Agency, implemented REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED to REDACTED, REDACTED and REDACTED. Additionally programs were setup to REDACTED REDACTED and REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED using REDACTED. The methods included REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED as well as REDACTED REDACTED.

    Signed,
    Fuck You Citizens

  • by ronmon (95471) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:10PM (#44770945)
  • If we can piece together any meaning from what's left after all the giant magic marker redactions.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      It's happened before. Enough stuff was released with documents quoting each other and different redactions that the unredacted stuff was reassembled. Redaction only works if consistently applied or if there is no duplicate information.
      One USSR example of linked secret documents was an order for all documents about a mass grave to be destroyed. That order about document destruction listed the location of the mass grave and some other details about the information that was presumably in the destroyed docum
  • ... because you can't ask government to hold itself accountable for breaking the law.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      ... because you can't ask government to hold itself accountable for breaking the law.

      But as the government's employer, you can fire them, then try them in a court of law/grand jury.

  • Okay, so we're getting "hundreds" of pages. Even if they're heavily redacted, it's a start. But anyone thinking that the government's documents on this only number in the hundreds is incredibly deluded.

    So even if this sheds light above and beyond the Snowden leaks (either now or future), I'm sure they have plenty of stuff about the NSA, FISC/A, and more that they are withholding us. Maybe we'll get an idea of what that is once the EFF and others finish reading through all this...

    • by 0111 1110 (518466)

      Okay, so we're getting "hundreds" of pages. Even if they're heavily redacted, it's a start.

      Of what? A war on toner? If all of the bad stuff is redacted it only serves to make it look like they are being open and responding to a FOI request when they are not. This doesn't mean anything yet. Until we actually see how redacted the documents are. I"m sure 99% of the information will be missing.

  • by DMJC (682799) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @08:39PM (#44771067)
    We know the NSA has been promoting security standards that they can hack into. We know they've been pushing weaker security at standards organisations etc. Could SELinux which was developed by the NSA be vulnerable to this sort of attack? Could the NSA have a backdoor into Linux itself? I know that Linux should be the only alternative to Windows/OSX at this point for people trying to avoid NSA spying, but could Linux itself be vulnerable to the attacks the NSA can launch on other platforms?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhol13 (1087781)

      Could SELinux which was developed by the NSA be vulnerable to this sort of attack?

      Yes, it could.

      Could the NSA have a backdoor into Linux itself?

      Yes, they have, as does Chinese, Vupen, etc. Whether to call them "backdoors" or "just a random security holes" is left as a philosophical discussion.

      but could Linux itself be vulnerable to the attacks the NSA can launch on other platforms?

      Yes.

    • I know that Linux should be the only alternative to Windows/OSX at this point

      What's wrong with BSD?

      Of course, there's always this [seclists.org] issue which I haven't seen mentioned recently. The fact that nothing similar has come forward on Linux is concerning to me....

    • Relax already. The code for SELinux is freely available and I can guarantee you, well vetted by now. If it had a backdoor, someone would have noticed. I would have thought Linux users of all people, knowing the benefits of open-source code, would be less likely to be showing knee-jerk reactions about this sort of thing.

      Be paranoid sure, but sometimes a bit of thought and logic can make you rest easy at night. It's a shame a well-designed security architecture is now tainted simply because it has the acronym

      • by durin (72931)

        Sure it's well vetted. But consider that you often don't know by whom. Lots of eyes on code does open up the potential for having a few Byzantine generals.

        • Yeah I suppose that's true. But then you start to go down the path of wondering just how much of your system CAN you trust. What if your compiler, or the compiler used to build your distro, was compromised without anyone's knowledge? There's a famous paper about the issue (https://www.ece.cmu.edu/~ganger/712.fall02/papers/p761-thompson.pdf) and it's hard to believe at least someone wouldn't have attempted a nefarious use of the concept. What if some of the microcode which directly controls your hardware has

    • could Linux itself be vulnerable to the attacks the NSA can launch

      That's the most awesome question ever. Likely to spark a heated debate with an incredibly obvious answer.

      Lulz, nice one.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      Bigger question is why we aren't talking about the NSA breaking SSL [theguardian.com].

    • by MSG (12810)

      People keep asking this question without any idea how it possibly could be a back door.

      SELinux is a security layer in addition to the existing security controls. It can deny applications the permission to perform various actions, and that's about it.

      How do you imagine that it would be a back door?

  • by fred133 (449698)

    So, what's the EFF using for email these days?
    paper and pencil via carrier pigeon?
    just curious..... :)

  • I already know what they're gonna say:

    Here was a block of asterisks in the shape of a piece of paper, but the junk filter got me. So, visual funny gone, stupid rant added. Anyways, the whole thing will be mostly black lines and some page numbers, maybe part of some letterhead.

    and so on

    * Hopefully this will get around the "junk" filter - I mean, I'm displaying a visual representation here, /.. Alas, the technology to differentiate between meaningless spam and an approximation of what a gov't document will lo

  • What way better to hide your transgressions.

  • by mendax (114116) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @10:20PM (#44771451)

    I wonder how much of this stuff is already out in the wild thanks to Edward Snowden's efforts. Not much point if all this shit turns out to have already been released. It wouldn't surprise me if a good chunk of this is old news.

  • Here's one of the first documents released [calbizlit.com].

    Try to control your excitement.

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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